Stone Temple Harlot

“The fascinating part of the calendar is what nobody seems to care about. August 13, 3114. Before Christ, like he had anything to do with it. How many peoples have an opening date?”

Winston was wound up, lolling crossways in his matrimonial-sized henequen hammock, tripping his brains out and just dying to share it all. As he usually did, he rocked back and forth in the hammock, each swing bringing the tip of his toe to a bamboo pillar where it could propel his next rock with a mere flick. Beyond that, each swing slightly flexed the hammock’s stanchions, which also supported most of the palm thatch palapa that provided shade and shelter on his handbuilt floating island. It was like a combination, he’d said, of a soveriegn country and a waterbed.

“So let’s look around the world of the times, where dates are a little sloppier, but more historically sanctified. The first Egyptian dynasty circa 3100, “Uruk” the first city of Mesopotamia about the same time, though nobody claims they found the cornerstone. Kali Yuga in India, 3102. It was a time of beginnings all over the world. And you can trace them through the ages of fire, earth, air and water. And now we’re looking at the age of ether, the Fifth Sun, the Age of Center.

“Your people didn’t just do things when it looked good, you see. They timed it all out to the stars and Milky Way. Channel islands of the Pleiades, where they claim your people came from. Our system aligns with Alcyone in the Pleiades every 52 years, the exact length of the Calendar Round. You’re a race of astronauts, illegal aliens.”

For once he wasn’t raving to himself, though it’s uncertain how often he knew the difference. He was taking this particular info-dump on the girl who squatted naked at the edge of the raft, staring down into the water. Which was quite a sight for anyone who cared to stare instead of blathering about crypto-archeology: little breasts as spherical as stone temple houris in India, Chinatown cheekbones, matte skin the color of cinnamon sugar, and sleek black hair so long it brushed the floor every time she shifted her delectable ass (which was the only time it ever got swept).

Her name was XChab and she was as Mayan as they come: he’d found her selling cheap Chilangoware shell jewelry on the beach dressed in a village huipil, tapestry tied around her hips, and about three kilos of braids piled up on her head. Which she considered her working outfit. She’d much rather wear retro-slut black drag with Doc Martins and a buzzcut because she was a ponk at heart—a ponkita, actually, since she was drastically underage. But the only ticket out that had punched her so far was this old hippie, who liked her to wear her hair down and mostly nothing at all, which was fine with her. Anything to quit being Maya village people.

Although she was entertaining doubts about stranding herself on this crazy raft with this pendejo. What her mother would call me’ex ‘áak. What did he do all day? Smoked mota, which nobody did but low class losers, and get crazy on hongos, which nobody did but psychos and gringos. Well, he was a gringo, more of less. So why did he like that jungle shit instead of having some coca, or better yet, crack? She had only heard of crack, but lusted for a taste because the name itself just sounded so very, very bad. Which is to say, of course, good.

She stood up smoothly, though she’d been squatting on her heels for over an hour. She gazed at Winston Bacon, ranting on the bed, and shifted her weight just enough to give her pose a sexual tilt. She rocked her head forward, then shook it, her hair slithering around to hang in front of her the way he liked, her nipples staring out as round and black and beckoning as her eyes. She lowered her brow and stared at him from under her silken lashes, wetting her lips slightly. She said, “Hey, Winston, why don’t you shut up with that crazy Indio shit?”

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